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Beyond Technology : Man as end or the End of Man !

mercredi 29 octobre 2003, par Portnoff Andre-Yves


a. : What has to be taken into account when engineering the Knowledge Society ?

The society of information, that is to say our society transformed by the Information Technology can support human development and respect our values humanist, if we fill two conditions :

  • first we must want it ! It is a philosophical and political option,
  • secondly, we have to understand the really nature of the transformations that we live and what are the options that they open.

The numeric revolution only accelerates a deeper mutation begun fifty years ago, with Hiroshima : the passage of the industrial revolution to the era of the non tangible assets.

Henceforth the critical resources are no more physical or financial ones, they are intangible. Knowledge alone is not a resource. It becomes efficient when the men assimilate it, transform it in skill and decide to do some thing concrete with it. And the efficiency requires that many people exploit their different and complementary skills together. The development depends therefore on the passions, aspirations, confidence, knowledge, mental models, intelligence, imagination of every man, alone and in interactions systems. It depends on the quality of their exchanges because only exchanges create human and economic value.

Internet is important because he facilitates and amplifies all these exchanges, but the essential is the liberty that can prevent exchange even where exist the numeric networks. The men are the only source of creativeness and the creativeness is destroyed when one destroys the liberty, not only economical liberty, liberty of free citizen, fundamental human rights. If we use the Information Technology to reinforce centric organization and Big Brother, our development will be not sustainable but suicidal ; it will ruin economy and finally destroy the humanity. Here is the choice : " man as end or the end of man !"

b. What concrete actions should be undertaken ?

  • We must transform the system of education to diffuse a global way of thinking able to understand the complexity of our modern problems, to reduce the influence of the neoclassic economy, to bring closer economy, human sciences and technology.
  • We must explain to the economic and political leaders what are the real assets of organizations and society. Human respect and honesty are some essential economical values !
  • We must use implementation of digital networks against old centric management and promote not centric networks in organizations.

Curriculum Vitae and recent publications

André-Yves Portnoff is doctor in metallurgic sciences and director of the Observatoire de la Révolution de l’Intelligence at Futuribles International. Journalist and consultant in prospective, he is co-author of La Révolution de l’Intelligence (1983-1985), the first report that introduced the concept of the intangible revolution in France. He developed at Futuribles a tool for the evaluation and strategic guidance of organizations based on intangible assets.

  • Xavier Dalloz and André-Yves Portnoff, La proliferation numérique : ressorts et impacts, L’e-novation des entreprises, Futuribles juillet-août 2001, n° 266, pp. 23-60
  • André-Yves Portnoff , Uomo fine o fine del uomo, arcVision, n° 9, giugno2003, (in Italian and English), Italcementi Group Ed.
  • André-Yves Portnoff with Véronique Lamblin, Le capital réel des organisations, Futuribles juillet-août 2003, n° 288, pp. 43-62.

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